'Ochi' needs cleaning up for the New Year - residents
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
A clean town and the removal of street people from the resort town of Ocho Rios are among the main things that residents want to see happen in the new year.
Issues pertaining to road repairs, congestion, drain cleaning and tourist harassment also surfaced as The Gleaner took to the streets of Ocho Rios recently.
One resident, Mark Thomas, said there were three main issues that need to be addressed urgently.
"For Ocho Rios, there are three main things - the cleanliness of the whole town; two, fewer homeless people and mad people on the streets; and three, the roads, especially in and around Ocho Rios. Those are the main things I want to see improved," Thomas said.
The issue of road repairs was partially addressed recently with patching exercise by National Works Agency. But according to another resident, Debbie Leeung, patching does not solve the problems being faced by motorists and pedestrians alike.
"When I say fix the road I don't mean do a little patch work because patch work doesn't help anybody, it's like a camouflage," Leeung says.
"If we take our time and do the thing right, let it last for a 10-year (period), I see where it would be a big improvement." For her, proper roads is the major concern.
A gentleman who gave his name as Tony decried the harassment of visitors, the street people and the drainage problem.
"The drainage system is pretty bad. Whenever it rains, the town is full of water on the street, and it doesn't run off easily. Then there are too many madmen on the streets and too many street boys," he pointed out.
"And the folks who interfere with the tourists, that puts a little fear in the tourists." Tony, who says he spends time abroad each year, says friends who visit Jamaica often complain to him about harassment.
"They would say, you have a lot of beggars in Ocho Rios, and I feel so ashamed really. Apart from that, Ochi stinks, it smells a lot. I don't know what the problem is, but it stinks."
Another gentleman, Baldie, says he hates to visit Ocho Rios when it rains as there is a lot of water running on the streets. He is suggesting the installation of an underground drainage system that would see the water quickly leave the surface of the road.